Maryland Live! Hires Morishita

Travis Morishita has been named director of analysis for Maryland Live! Casino. Morishita brings more than 13 years of leadership experience in the areas of accounting consolidations, system implementation and strategic development to his new position at Maryland Live! Casino. Morishita will be responsible for managing the day-to-day analytical needs of the property, including preparation of key reports and presentations in areas such as budgets, financial forecasts, market reports, marketing analysis, customer service, operations, cash flow projections, labor modeling and business reviews, as well as the development of the operational and capital budgets.

Erickson Living Named Top Agency

Erickson Living announced that for the third consecutive year it has been named as a Top Agency of the 2013 HomeCare Elite, a recognition of the top-performing home-health agencies in the United States.

The Erickson Living communities named Top Agencies include Oak Crest (listed among the top 100 agencies), Fox Run and Greenspring (listed among the top 500 agencies) and Cedar Crest and Riderwood (listed among the top 25 percent of agencies).

U.S. Trust Appoints Sandberg

U.S. Trust has announced that Kirsten Sandberg has joined its Baltimore office as a senior vice president and private client adviser. Sandberg was previously employed by M&T Wilmington Trust in its Baltimore office, where she was a vice president and private client adviser.

Attorneys Named Super Lawyers


Adelberg, Rudow, Dorf & Hendler, LLC has announced that five of its members are listed in Super Lawyers Business Edition 2013, an annual resource that “serves as the go-to guide for general counsel and executives in charge of making legal hiring decisions.”

The ARD&H members who were listed: David B. Applefeld, construction litigation; Thomas D. Kohn, business/corporate; Andrew Radding, criminal defense/white collar; David B. Rudow, business/corporate; and Oren D. Saltzman, business/corporate..

Senator Bobby Zirkin Addresses Baltimore Jewish Council

Bobby Zirkin (Rebecca Gardner)

Bobby Zirkin (Rebecca Gardner)

Democratic State Sen. Bobby Zirkin outlined some of the issues he expects to be debated in the upcoming Maryland General Assembly session on Dec. 12 when he addressed members of the Baltimore Jewish Council.

Laws regarding abuse and violence were highlighted, including those regarding pit bulls (and who would be held responsible for pit bull attacks) and cyber bullying.

With regard to reporting child abuse, which is mandatory, Maryland still has not resolved how to reprimand people who take a step back when they know of abuse. Currently, failure to report child abuse is a civil offense, punishable only in the teaching and nursing professions.

In other abuse-related laws, Zirkin reported that Maryland is one of few states that needs “clear and convincing evidence” in order to secure a protective order in a domestic violence case. He said there are too many cases of women not getting protective orders when they clearly should have been granted them.

He also spoke about fracking, hydraulic fracturing of rock by a pressurized liquid, a process performed on wells to assist in the extraction of natural resources.

“I believe this is a big-ticket environmental issue, and we should ban it in Maryland,” said Zirkin. “I’m hoping the Senate will pass an out-and-out ban.” He doesn’t trust lobbyists on the issue and doesn’t believe that any type of fracking is ultimately safe for the environment.

An issue sure to come up, he said, is how the state can comply with a court ruling that defendants have a right to counsel at bail hearings. The state’s public defender’s office says it could cost $28 million annually to comply, and Zirkin said the state is going to have to find creative solutions to offset that cost.

He discussed the need for the state to address the minimum wage question, as well as marijuana decriminalization. Zirkin sponsored a marijuana decriminalization bill that passed the Senate last year but did not make it out of the House.

Zirkin is approaching his eighth year at a state senator and 16th in the general assembly.

Pikesville Native Launches YouTube Channel

Traci Moran has started a YouTube channel on which she discusses what’s on her mind. (Photos provided)

Traci Moran has started a YouTube channel on which she discusses what’s on her mind. (Provided)

When Traci Moran moved from Pikesville to Alaska three years ago, she had no idea what she was in for.

“I thought the whole world was Jewish,” said Moran. “It was such a culture shock to leave Pikesville.”

Not only did Moran leave Pikesville, but she moved across the continent to live on an Army base with a town full of strangers. When her husband, Jared, was deployed in late 2011, she was left to raise her young daughter largely by herself. To make matters more complicated, she was also starring in a reality TV series based on her life and the lives of the other women on base with husbands overseas.

Young and outspoken, Moran was the focus of a lot of attention, both negative and positive.

When she mentioned charoset in one episode, she was overwhelmed by the number of women who reached out to her with their own tales of maintaining their Jewish faith in an overwhelmingly Christian military community.

Today, she maintains a YouTube channel, where she discusses everything from Judaism to cursing.

In Alaska, she had to travel more than 20 minutes to the nearest synagogue, and it wasn’t uncommon for services to be canceled because of moose camped out on the porch.

“To keep up with a Jewish lifestyle takes dedication, it’s next to impossible, and nobody understands it,” said Moran. But instead of giving in and putting her religion on hold, Moran said the difficulties she and her family have faced have only strengthened their Judaism. While Jared was stationed overseas during Chanukah, without another practicing Jewish colleague or even a menorah, he made do with eight chem lights and his own prayers. While Moran was in Alaska alone with her baby daughter, she made sure to hold onto as much Jewish tradition as she could, even if it was just for the two of them.

Moran plans to post another video soon that will provide viewers with a Jewish take on Christmas. While a lot of her content so far has been a random assortment of whatever is on her mind, Moran said she plans on focusing her future posts more on the Jewish experience.

Check out Moran’s YouTube channel

11 Indicted For Conspiracy, Nine from Pikesville, Owings Mills

A federal grand jury indicted 11 people on Dec. 3 for alleged conspiracy to distribute drugs, launder money and sell contraband cigarettes.

The 42-count indictment alleges that the defendants are family members and associates who live in Baltimore County and New York City and operate businesses in Pikesville and Baltimore City, including Healthway Pharmacy and the Europe Restaurant. The charges are related to a conspiracy to traffic more than $6.6 million in contraband cigarettes (cigarettes on which the applicable state taxes have not been paid). In addition to trafficking in contraband cigarettes, the indictment alleges that some of the defendants also distributed oxycodone, sold drug samples and laundered money.

In a separate indictment, Salim Yusufov, who owned and operated Healthway Pharmacy in Pikesville, has been charged with illegally selling unapproved prescription drugs from Germany and Eastern Europe. Healthway Pharmacy is a former Pikesville Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year.

The federal grand jury has indicted:  Elmar “Eric” Rakhamimov, 41, of Owings Mills; Zarakh Yelizarov, 51, of Baltimore; Salim Yusufov, 43, of Baltimore; Artur Zakharyan, 52, of Owings Mills; Ilgar Rakhamimov, 39, of Owings Mills; Timur Yusufov, 35, of Baltimore; Nikolay Zakharyan, 23, of Owings Mills; Adam Azerman, 59, of Pikesville; Shamil Novakhov, 58, of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Yuliya Rakhamimov, 33, of Owings Mills; and Ruslan Ykiew, 38, of Brooklyn, N.Y.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt.  Court appearances are currently pending.

Har Sinai Launches Mobile App

Congregants of Har Sinai just got a technological upgrade.

Earlier this fall, Har Sinai Congregation launched a new mobile app that allows users to easily access news and event information, photos, a direct contact to the synagogue office, links to Har Sinai Congregation’s social media and a marketplace directory in which congregants can list their businesses.

“People kind of live by their phones right now,” said Monica Blum, Har Sinai’s director of communications, adding that the response from users has been overwhelmingly positive.

To develop the app, a process they began over the summer, Blum said the congregation worked with a company called Trackable Response to develop aspects that would be most beneficial to the congregants.

One of the most popular uses that Blum said she has noticed is the ability to register for events by using the app. Now, congregants are just a click away from signing up for any of the synagogue’s many available activities. For the congregation, this means they know immediately how many chairs, tables or plates of food they might need for any particular occasion. Also, members can be notified immediately when Har Sinai has weather-related cancellations, like earlier this month when snow caused it to cancel some programs.

For now, Blum said Har Sinai is the only congregation in the Baltimore area offering this kind of technology, but she has heard rumors of other synagogues looking to follow suit.

The app is free and available for download in both the iTunes and the Google Play stores.

Author’s note: The Baltimore Jewish Times app was also built by Trackable Response. The JT app is available for download for Blackberry, Android and Apple devices.

Former Cardin Aide Declares Candidacy

Shelly Hettleman officially launched her campaign for District 11 delegate Dec. 15 at Pikes Diner.

Hettleman will try to fill the spot left open by Del. Jon Cardin’s run for attorney general. A former campaign manager for Sen. Ben Cardin, Hettleman is a native of the Pikesville area, where she serves on the board of directors of Chizuk Amuno Congregation.

“A woman with Shelly’s character and commitment to public service will represent our community well in Annapolis,” Sen. Cardin said in a statement.

In addition to working for six years as Cardin’s campaign manager, Hettleman co-led the Maryland Democratic Party’s coordinated campaign to re-elect the Democratic congressional delegation, worked as legislative assistant in Cardin’s office while he was a congressman, served on Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s campaign staff and worked as director of government relations for the Baltimore Jewish Council.

Hettleman was the first program director at CHANA and was a senior member of the planning team at The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore. She also helped to launch the Jewish Women’s Archive’s “Weaving Women’s Words: Baltimore Stories” exhibition.

“It will be an honor to represent the people of the 11th District, and I will work tirelessly to earn their trust,” Hettleman said in a statement.

Among her stated goals for District 11 are improved public education, an increase in public involvement in government and expanded early childhood care and education.

Hettleman will face Democratic incumbents Dan Morhaim and Dana Stein in addition to Democrat Don Engel in a November election that will fill the three District 11 seats. As of now, no Republicans have stepped forward to run.

Former Annapolis Mayor Josh Cohen Takes New State Post

Josh Cohen (Justin Tsucalas)

Josh Cohen (Justin Tsucalas)

Josh Cohen, the former Annapolis mayor who lost his re-election bid by 59 votes, has started a new job with the state.

Cohen started his new post as the chief administration officer at the Maryland Department of General Services, reporting to Secretary Alvin C. Collins, on Wednesday, Dec. 11.

“I wanted to find a position where I felt like I could make a difference, and I certainly believe there that there’s an opportunity here,” Cohen said.

The department supports other state agencies in the areas of facilities, procurement, logistics and maintenance services. Cohen will be making a salary of $112,500, he said.

The position will allow him to expand upon his executive management experience, he said. He spent his first two days reviewing the department’s budget, meeting with division directors and attending a meeting of the Maryland Green Purchasing Committee.

The former mayor didn’t immediately adjust after losing by 59 votes (3,934 to 3,875) to Republic Mike Pantelides, Annapolis’ first republican mayor since 1997.

“Right after the election, I had some sad days because I truly loved the job,” Cohen said. “We had a good team, and there was a lot I was looking forward to in the next four years.”

But he’s looking forward to digging into new issues.

“I like it because I’ll be working on budget, fiscal, personnel types of issues, a range of issues that aren’t particularly sexy, but are appealing to me,” he said.